Version Reviewed: 2.23.0
App Reviewed on: iPad Air
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I’ve been playing and enjoying collectable card games for 20 years, now - yeah, I’m old, shut up. While Magic: the Gathering has always been my main game, I’ve tried and enjoyed several others over the years. One of my favorites was always Pokémon, but at my age (I said shut up!) almost none of my peers play. The only way I could enjoy a game was to go to a tournament and play almost entirely against children. Since that’s as awkward as it sounds, I haven’t played in years.
Now there’s a solution to that problem. And unlike Magic’s foray into iPad, Pokémon TCG allows a great deal of freedom.
First game against a human player.When you begin you’re presented with three pre-made decks (water, grass, and fire naturally) and are taught how to play Pokémon TCG by computer opponents, which is handled very well. Afterwards, you’re left to compete against more and better computer opponents on your own. As you win, cards are added to your deck, and after eight wins with a deck it becomes unlocked and goes into your collection to be used in online matches.
For online matches you get to create your own screen name, avatar, and can even customize the sleeves on your deck and the coin you use for coin flips. You can choose to play in different format events, play against friends or random strangers, and enter tournaments with nifty prizes up for grabs. If the four theme decks aren’t enough for your deck building tastes, you can buy packs with currency earned in-game or with real world cash. The packs will give you around 15 cards to add to your collection. The deck builder will let you build a deck in any way you want with total freedom, but also has an option to auto-build a deck for you using one or two of your favorite cards - a great feature for players not comfortable with or interested in building their own deck.
However, one of the best features is that you can play all day while out of the house on your iPad, then get home and launch the same account on your desktop and continue playing. That said, there’s one HUGE problem with the login as it currently exists: the game will save your user ID, but not your password and it will not allow you to copy/paste it in from your password manager (eg: 1Password). Every time I want to log in, I have to open 1Password on my phone and slowly type the long random character password on my iPad. I really hope this gets fixed in a future update.
Overall, this is how a card game should be done on the iPad. You have the freedom to build whatever you’d like, the chance to build a collection or work within the confines of a smaller set, and the option to play other real people online. Pokémon TCG couldn’t be a better or more fulfilling game.